ORMOC CITY – To show this city’s support to the launching of the nationwide “PinasLakas” program of the Department of Health (DOH), the local government unit led by City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez launched its counterpart program called Reaching Incentive for CoVax Enhancement (RICE), wherein rice is given as incentive to Ormocanons who would voluntarily get vaccinated in LGU-designated vaccination sites around Ormoc.

During the said program’s launching held at SM Center Ormoc on Monday, August 1, 2022, Sangguniang Panlungsod Member (SPM) Dr. Edmund Kierulf, Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Nutrition, and Sanitation and of the Committee on Children, said that the RICE program was crafted to persuade senior citizens and eligible Ormocanons to receive their COVID-19 booster shots, and encourage those who have yet to receive their 1st and 2nd doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Mao ni nga namugna ni nga insentibo para maingganyo ang mga senior citizens ug ang uban nga wala pa gyud magpabakuna, kay kung inyong mabantayan ug inyong maobserbaran sa unang mga niaging mga semana ug mga buwan, ang Ormoc nag 0 active case ta, pero karon makasubo nga balita nga naa tay 5 active nga COVID positive dinhi, kini sila tungod kay wala magpa booster, and uban wala gyud magpabakuna,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PinasLakas campaign of the DOH in coordination with LGU-Ormoc’s City Health Department (CHD) aims to administer COVID-19 booster vaccines to at least 23 million people, or 50% of the eligible population, within the first 100 days of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s administration to help maintain the country’s wall of immunity and continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as vaccines are proven to be safe and effective against the virus.

Accordingly, senior citizens who will be administered with the 1st or 2nd dose will receive 2 kilos of rice; those aged 12 and above who will be administered with the first dose will also receive 2 kilos of rice; and those aged 5 years old to 11 years old, who are first-dose vaccine recipients will only be given a rice incentive after the second dose.

Per the CHD, only Ormoc City residents can avail of the said RICE incentive program. Each vaccine, accordingly, is required to present a valid identification card, vaccination card, and barangay certificate. Finally, non-Ormocanons can still get COVID-19 shots at different vaccination sites in Ormoc City but will not be covered by the city government’s RICE program. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail August 1-7, 2022 issue)